Where gaming meets Gospel: Youth For Christ reaches teens with video-game ministry

Where gaming meets Gospel: Youth For Christ reaches teens with video-game ministry
August 09
09:30 2020

DETROIT, Mi. — COVID-19 stalled many things, but Youth For Christ’s (YFC, ministry in Detroit, Mich., wasn’t one of them. YFC leader Charles Day has continued to minister to area youth while also expanding his reach to more students with help from an unusual source: online gaming.

When the COVID-19 quarantine reached Detroit, Day knew area teenagers would need more care and support than before the quarantine. The lack of physical proximity and face-to-face interactions meant students risked feeling lonely or worse, forgotten. So, Day took control — by grabbing a video-game controller — and invited YFC students to meet him online.

Before long, dozens of students were finding camaraderie despite the coronavirus chaos, through the YFC leader’s video game group. 

“We’ve been able to take gaming in this time of no face-to-face contact with our students,” Day said. “We have close to 40 young people that we’re staying connected to via video games. And it’s given us an opportunity to minister just as if we were face to face.”

Not long after Day’s video-game ministry began, he suggested YFC students invite others to join. As the gaming group grew to include new gamers, Day established creative ways to promote dialogue and share Scripture. He uses video-game systems’ headset capabilities and a conferencing phone app to promote student dialogue and conversation about life and Jesus.

“It gives us an opportunity to minister and share authentic Christ-sharing relationships with young people who don’t even know Christ in this difficult hour,” Day said. “At every time games are scheduled, we send out a Scripture verse that each student has to dialogue about in this particular app that we use. And with the dialogue, it creates this Christ-sharing relationship, this opportunity to share Christ and provoke a thought process on who Christ is and what he means to you and your personal life.”

Day developed a system and schedule as the number of gamers continued to grow. He created a weekly schedule to help everyone know when to sign on. As students play during scheduled times, Day uses the video game’s administrative features to join student conversations, checking in on them and asking them questions.

“And I’m able as the administrator to go on, and actually be on my headset, and go in and kick it with the kids while they’re playing games: encourage them, love on them, and continue to share this authentic Christ-sharing relationship that some of them had no idea about.”

As students logged on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays each week, Day continued to learn more about students’ stories and their needs. 

“It’s our way of being able to stay connected to them so that they don’t lose heart,” Day shared. “It gives us that opportunity to find out if the students need anything in their homes, or if their parents or family have been struggling with some stuff. It gives us a direction and insight on how to pray and how to be intentional in our ministry act.” 

To encourage students to continue to join online, a $50 gift certificate was offered to video-game winners at various times. And Day is eager to help other YFC chapters and leaders employ this productive, fruitful, innovative way to care for students, during and after the COVID-19 quarantine.

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